You may think of a bottleneck in terms of manufacturing, where it refers to a jam on the production line. Some people use it to refer to a traffic event where one slow car inadvertently slows down every other car behind them. No matter where they occur, bottlenecks are setbacks or obstacles that slow down or delay a process. Wherever bottlenecks occur, those who experience them generally share the same common feeling, frustration. That feeling of frustration could be happening in your office due to a business bottleneck, and the cause of that bottleneck might very well be you.
In business, a bottleneck might be a slow-down or delay associated with information, materials, products, or even employee hours. It can happen anywhere people and tasks rely upon one another to keep the work flowing. Before you know it, there’s a backlog of work that has piled up. Work will continue to move slowly until the issue is spotted and resolved. While you may not want to admit it, in the case of a business bottleneck, the cause could even be you. Learn how to take a look in the mirror and determine if you are the bottleneck that is preventing growth.
The Micromanaging Bottleneck
Owners and entrepreneurs are used to being very hands-on when it comes to their business. While that can be essential to get a business off the ground, it can become detrimental later on. As a company grows, entrepreneurs can suddenly find themselves spending the majority of their time sitting in meetings, answering questions, or managing crises, rather than doing what made them want to start the business in the first place. It may be tempting to try to jump back into the trenches, but that’s not what their company needs.
Yes, it’s hard watching someone do a task differently than you would do it. It’s even harder if you think employees are doing that task “wrong.” But, if you’re constantly micromanaging, trying to control and monitor everything happening within your company, it can only lead to a bottleneck. Remember, your company needs a leader, someone who can focus on the big picture, and leave the day-to-day decisions to your employees.
Delegate Design Making
If every decision has to go through you, you are wasting time, productivity is screeching to a halt, and frustration is rising. Quite simply, it’s taking longer than necessary to get work done. Not only that, but your team members are feeling devalued.
You shouldn’t need to evaluate every new client inquiry or approve every purchase. Set your company up for success by building the right infrastructure. That starts with hiring the right people and spending time training and mentoring them. Employees need to understand your company visions, values, and goals to keep everyone working in the same direction.
Once you have the right people in place, you need to document your processes. That means writing down the steps in which operations are most efficiently executed. This is the most effective way to communicate with your team how you want things done when you can’t be there. Once everyone is on the same page, you’ll be ready to delegate decision making to your employees, and you will be able to minimize your involvement in mundane or daily decisions.
Reaching In-House Capacity
Struggling with whether or not you have the capacity to take on new clients? It’s okay if you can’t handle everything in-house. Your business exists to make money, and it’s your job to focus on revenue-building activities. In order to keep taking new clients, and avoid bottlenecks, sometimes the best thing you can do for your company is hiring an outside consultant to get things done. You might hire a payroll specialist or someone to help with email marketing.
Consultants are highly skilled employees that bring their expertise to your company. They are constantly staying up to date with the latest trends, innovations, and best practices. Plus, because they aren’t full-time employees of your company, they can frequently save you money. When you outsource some of your tasks, you free up your in-house employees to focus on areas that will bring growth. Anytime you can prevent a bottleneck from happening, it will save you time, energy, and resources.
Don’t become a bottleneck for your business. Safeguard can help with tailored solutions to help you manage your business. Contact us today to get started with your local Safeguard advisor.
- Business bottlenecks include delays associated with information, materials, products, or even employee hours.
- Micromanaging leads to bottlenecks.
- A lack of delegation leads to bottlenecks.
- Hiring outside help can help prevent bottlenecks.